New Upisode online
A new ‘Upisode’ has appeared online and can now be seen on Moviefone. The clip, titled Snipe Trap, shows the efforts of one of the film’s protagonist in trying to create a successful rope trap. Up hits theaters on May 29th.
Umbrella Academy Movie Gets a Writer
Universal and Dark Horse are going back to school for their first project since signing a three-year production pact last year, moving ahead with an adaptation of The Umbrella Academy.
The brainchild of Gerard Way, lead singer of the rock group My Chemical Romance, and artists Gabriel Ba, Umbrella is being adapted by writer Mark Bomback. The comic, a mixture of classic 1980s X-Men and Grant Morrison’s version of Doom Patrol, won an Eisner Award last year for best limited series.
Bombeck’s credits include the just-released Race to Witch Mountain for Disney, as well as the sequel Live Free or Die Hard.
Will Wright Exits EA for Stupid Fun Club
Will Wright, creator of such blockbuster games as SimCity, The Sims and Spore, is leaving Electronic Arts to run his new intellectual property think tank Stupid Fun Club.
That doesn’t mean he’s leaving EA behind entirely. The videogame giant is making an equity investment in the new venture, taking a stake equal to that of Wright’s and securing the right to develop games from Stupid Fun Club projects.
"The entertainment industry is moving rapidly into an era of revolutionary change," Wright said. "Stupid Fun Club will explore new possibilities that are emerging from this sublime chaos and create new forms of entertainment on a variety of platforms. In my 12 years at EA, I've had the pleasure to work alongside some of the brightest and most talented game developers in the industry and I look forward to working with them again in the near future."
Canal Plus Channels to Air 3 Studio100 Series
Studio100 Media has agreed to a deal that will see several of its children’s and family programs to air on Canal Plus channels.
The deal will see puppet series Big and Small (52 x 11 mins) air on Piwi, animated series Poochini (78 x 7 mins) on Télétoon and Zeke’s Pad (26 x 24 mins) on Canal Plus Family.
"Zeke’s Pad, Big and Small and Poochini are some of the best children’s series in our programming portfolio. We are therefore delighted to see these series on Canal+’s channels," said Patrick Elmendorff, managing director of Studio100.
OddParents to Spoof Movies in Wishology
The popular Nick series The Fairly OddParents is set to take on such well-known Hollywood franchises as Star Wars, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings and The Terminator in a special three-part movie event titled The Fairly OddParents: Wishology.
The trilogy will air on three consecutive Friday nights starting May 1, and will feature guest stars Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from the rock band KISS, as well as actors Brendan Fraser and Patrick Warburton.
The three parts are titled “Wishology: The Big Beginning,” “Wishology: The Exciting Middle Part” and “Wishology: The Final Ending.”
The series ranks among the top five animated programs for kids ages 2-11.
Deadline April 29 for Women in Animation Scholarship
The deadline is April 29 for applications for Women in Animation’s $1,000 Phyllis Craig Scholarship.
The scholarship, named for one of the founding members of Women in Animation, is open to applications from full- or part-time students at an accredited animation school who have a goal of working in the field.
Applicants need to be U.S. citizens or legal residents, and need to submit a portfolio or reel, a 500-word essay on their goals for their education and careers as well as financial need, a copy of their student identification and a recommendation from a teacher or mentor.
Applications need to be sent by April 29 to:
Women in Animation
Phyllis Craig Scholarship
P.O. Box 17706
Encino, CA 91416
Women in Animation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to advance women in all aspects of the art and industry and animation.
For more information on applying for the scholarship or the organization, visit www.womeninanimation.org
Live-action Dragonball Joins Box Office Battle
It’s not animated, but the live-action version of Dragonball: Evolution is expected to lure fans of the popular anime and manga series to theaters this weekend.
The Fox adaptation, which stars Justin Chatwin, Chow Yun-Fat, Emmy Rossum and James Marsters, opens at 2,181 theaters this weekend. The feature is based on the hugely successful franchise created by Akira Toriyama, which was introduced in 1984 and consists of one manga series, three anime series, 17 animated feature films, an unofficial live-action Chinese feature film, a collectible card game, a large number of video games, collectible products, and action figures.
Although the live-action feature is directed by James Wong (Final Destination, The X-Files), it has received lukewarm reviews in European and Asian territories--where it opened weeks before its U.S. debut. It faces some stiff competition from Disney’s Hannah Montana: The Movie, which also opens Friday. The family comedy, which stars Miley Cyrus and is based on the Disney Channel series, is the weekend’s widest-opening film, hitting more than 3,100 theaters.
Going for a slightly older laughs (and some edgy content) is Observe and Report, the new comedy starring Seth Rogan. The Warner Bros. film is set to open at 2,727 theaters.
Also vying for the box office crown is last weekend’s winner, Fast & Furious, which is sure to do well after a phenomenal $72 million three-day opening.
DreamWorks’ Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D also should do well in its third weekend in release. The film has grossed $114 million domestically and $45 million internationally through Wednesday.
The Robots of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
TFW2005 has posted a bunch of CGI images of the Transformers in Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. You can click HERE to view more photos of The Fallen (pictured below), Devastator, Megatron, Sideswipe, Starscream, Ravage, Skids, Mudflap, Ratchet and Ironhide!
Warner Bros. Animation Releases Images From Recent "Animation Celebration" Event
Warner Bros. Animation has released a series of images and descriptions from the event held yesterday in Burbank, California.
WARNER BROS. ANIMATION CELEBRATES 80-YEAR LEGACY WITH ANIMATION MURAL UNVEILING AND COMMUNITY FESTIVAL
Mario Lopez Hosts Event on Historic Burbank Lot for Animation Fans
Warner Bros. Animation held a public event this evening celebrating the Studio’s legacy of nearly 80 years of animation and to unveil Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard. Updated for the first time in 15 years, the new mural represents the Studio’s rich animation heritage and showcases new interpretations of DC Comics super heroes such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, among others, as well as classic characters like Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird. Warner Bros. Animation is home to one of the largest cartoon libraries in the world, featuring over 3,000 of the most beloved characters from Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, DC Comics and more.
The evening festival was emceed by Extra anchor Mario Lopez and was kicked off with remarks from Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth, who also oversees television animation for the Studio.
Open to the public, the event boasted prize giveaways, entertainment and fun for families and fans, and featured a special live performance by the Beat Freaks, the phenomenal all-girl dance team from the 2009 edition of Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew, Warner Horizon Television’s hit reality-competition series for MTV.
Fans arrived dressed as DC Comics super heroes and characters from Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera animated series, showing their love and enthusiasm for cartoons.
Animation icons Bruce Timm, James Tucker and Glen Murakami – the Warner Bros. Animation creative producers behind many acclaimed animated series, including Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman: The Animated Series and Teen Titans, among others – were on hand to share their insight on updating classic characters for today’s television audiences.
Celebrity appearances included Diedrich Bader, the current voice of Batman on Batman: The Brave and The Bold (airing Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network), and Julie Newmar, who portrayed Catwoman in the classic Adam West–starring Batman live-action television series.
0031: Julie Newmar (Catwoman from original Batman TV series) and Diedrich Bader (voice of Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) pose in front of the Batmobile and help celebrate the unveiling of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez (Extra) on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0035: Diedrich Bader (voice of Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) poses in front of the Batmobile and helps celebrate the unveiling of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez (Extra) on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0043: Extra host Mario Lopez served as master of ceremonies at the unveiling of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard during a Tuesday, April 7, event on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0052: Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth (left) and Extra host Mario Lopez pose in front of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard, unveiled at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Lopez on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0065: Diedrich Bader (left, voice of Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Valerie Perez (as Wonder Woman) helped celebrate the unveiling of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez (Extra) on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0073: Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth (left), Teen Titans producer Glen Murakami, Batman: The Brave and the Bold producer James Tucker, Julie Newmar (Catwoman from original Batman TV series), legendary animation producer Bruce Timm, Diedrich Bader (voice of Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and voice director Andrea Romano pose in front of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard, unveiled at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0076: Sam Register, (left, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation), Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth, Teen Titans producer Glen Murakami, Batman: The Brave and the Bold producer James Tucker, Julie Newmar (Catwoman from original Batman TV series), legendary animation producer Bruce Timm, Diedrich Bader (voice of Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and voice director Andrea Romano (right) pose in front of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard, unveiled at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0078: Sam Register, (left, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation) and Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth pose in front of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard, unveiled at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0081: Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth (left), Sam Register (Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation), voice director Andrea Romano, Teen Titans producer Glen Murakami, Batman: The Brave and the Bold producer James Tucker, Julie Newmar (Catwoman from original Batman TV series), Diedrich Bader (voice of Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and legendary animation producer Bruce Timm pose in front of Warner Bros. Animation’s new cartoon billboard, unveiled at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
0094: Warner Bros. Animation unveiled its new cartoon billboard (the first new one in 15 years) at a Tuesday, April 7, event hosted by Mario Lopez on the Warner Bros. Studios lot. (Photo: Mitch Haddad/Warner Bros. Television Entertainment)
In a related note, the next all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Night of the Huntress!" is scheduled to air at 8:30pm (ET) on Friday, May 1st, 2009, on Cartoon Network. The episode, written by Adam Beechum and directed by Ben Jones, will feature heroes Huntress, Black Canary, and Blue Beetle and villains Calculator, Babyface, and Mrs. Manface. More details are expected shortly.
(Thanks World's Finest)
New York Anime Festival 2009 Opens On-line Registrations
The New York Anime Festival is now accepting registrations for its 2009 show, which will run from September 25-27, 2009, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Attendees, press, and professionals can all register at the official NYAF website at www.newyorkanimefestival.com. Advance registration fees are $35 for Friday and Sunday, $40 for Saturday, and $55 for a weekend pass for all 3 days. In addition, all attendees will receive 2-weeks of complimentary premium online service at crunchyroll.com. Ticket prices will be $5 more if purchased at the festival.
Victoria Beckham to Guest Star on "SpongeBob SquarePants"
Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice of the Spice Girls) will be providing a guest voice in an upcoming episode of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. E! Online reports that she will be providing the voice of Queen Amphitrite, "a Brit-accented goddess of the sea." The episode is scheduled to air in the summer of 2010.
Allison Thomas, Producer of "Despereaux," Interviewed at SheKnows.com
The SheKnows.com website has interviewed Allison Thomas, executive producer of The Tale of Despereaux. Among other topics, Thomas discusses why the novel by Kate DiCamillo was selected for adaptation, the artistic style she wanted for the movie, and what it was like to work with Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick, and Sigourney Weaver as voice actors. The Tale of Despereaux is now available on DVD and Blu-ray disc.
"Penguins of Madagascar" Continues Ratings Domination
Nickelodeon has announced that The Penguins of Madagascar, their new series from DreamWorks Animation, continues to lead in the ratings, being the #1 kids' show for the past week and #3 show on basic cable for all viewers (behind USA's WWE Entertainment and NCIS). The show drew an average of 4 million viewers for “Operation: Plush and Cover/Happy King Julien Day” on April 4, with an average 6.9 (2.4 million viewers) in the K2-11 demographic and a 7.4 (1.6 million viewers) in the K6-11 demographic.
Writers confirm a Spider-Man Venom spinoff is in the works
Sony is officially moving forward with its Spider-Man spinoff movie focusing on Venom and has hired Zombieland writing team Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese to pen the script, the writers told a group of reporters.
"We had a really great relationship with Sony on [Zombieland], and so that was a nice in for us there," Reese said in a group interview. "It gave us a leg up."
The duo is already working on the script, but they are sworn to secrecy on the details. "We're under strict orders on Venom," Wernick said. "We can't talk about it. It's just super secret."
Unlike Spider-Man director Sam Raimi, who has admitted that he wasn't a Venom fan before directing Spider-Man 3, Wernick and Reese said they are big fans of the comic character and have recently been doing their research to ensure that they do justice to him. "We read [Venom] growing up, but we were not experts," Reese said. "We certainly know the mythology of Venom, but went back and learned more when it became clear that we could actually get this job."
Ultimately, the writing team has fan interest at heart, they said. Even as they are just getting started on the script, they admit fan scrutiny is on their minds. "Absolutely. I'm terrified," Reese said with a nervous laugh. "It's source material that everybody knows and everybody's familiar with and everybody loves. There's a burden on you to meet the expectations of people. A lot of people are curious about Venom."
Back At Warner Bros. Animation
I haven't been to WB Animation at the old Columbia (now Warners) ranch for the longest time. There just wasn't much to see there, actually. A few artists doing Batman and the occasional DVD, but outside of that ... lots of empty cubicles.
But that's changed ...
I bopped through WBA this week and discovered the place is, if not bursting at the seams, is way busier than it's been for quite awhile. Lots of cubicles are occupied, lots of offices are humming.
"It's hectic and crazy right now, but better hectic than semi-ghost town."
Warners has got three series happening or about to happen, each with 26 episode orders. And there are three DVD features soon to be in work. One of the super hero staffers informed me: "I'm getting laid off next week, but I'm getting recalled for the newer shows in May. Usually I get laid off without any recall, so this is a good feeling ..."
Another artist said:
"You know, they're finally doing some synergistic stuff around here, getting more shows on Cartoon Network. Sam Register, our new top-kick, is a creative guy, a good development guy. He knows story and he's pushing to get more quality things going. They've had some real glitches in the recent past, and Warners has been fallow way too long, but the place is coming back to life ..."
Warner Bros. Animation is located -- if you didn't know -- in an expansive cluster of trailers at the Ranch, also in a building near the corner of the property. (This is about a mile and a half from where the new Warner Bros. Animation mural is stapled to the end of a sound stage on the main lot. They unveiled the art piece last night, and I don't suppose it qualifies as some of the "art" that the Burbank City Fathers require Burbank businesses to put up.)
I'm only glad that my whining about "no synergy" between Time-Warner animation companies has now proven to be somewhat inaccurate. Now ... if we can just get rid of some of the damn live action cluttering up Cartoon Network, we'll be all set ...
(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)
Leonardo DiCaprio To Cast Japanese Pop Group SMAP In ‘Ninja Scroll’?
A common complaint when it comes to stateside adaptations of classic anime and manga properties has been the lack of actual Asian actors playing lead roles in them. And while that trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, could Leonard DiCaprio — whose Appian Way production company has the likes of “Akira” and “Ninja Scroll” in the works — be listening to what fans?
Indeed he has, if a recent post on Anime News Network can be trusted. In a move that should get the hardest of hardcore anime and manga fans excited, ANN reports that DiCaprio is considering casting Japanese pop group SMAP as main leads in his “Ninja Scroll” adaptation.
While the Japanese “Idol” band have each individually acted in various films based on anime and manga titles, should this rumor pan out, it would be the first time all five members appear in a film together.
This latest casting news has been the first report we’ve heard from DiCaprio’s Appian Way front in several weeks, after the actor-turned-budding producer offered MTV exclusive updates on “Akira” and “Ninja Scroll” back in November, adding that he wouldn’t be starring in either film. Likewise, casting speculation regarding these projects is nothing new, as rumors regarding Joseph Gordon Levitt being considered for the role of Tetsuo in “Akira” also made the rounds recently.
EXCLUSIVE: Eric Powell Explains Why ‘The Goon’ Movie Needed To Be Animated
“The Dark Knight,” “Spider-Man” and “Iron Man” were all top-grossing comic book flicks, and all live-action spectacles. These days, in a world of A-list actors desperate to put on the spandex or body armor, it’s a pretty bold move to go the CGI-animated route with comic book adaptations.
Even so, “The Goon” creator Eric Powell revealed to MTV News that he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I always felt that the material would work better animated, just because of the bizarre nature of the characters and the atmosphere of the stories,” Powell told MTV News. “But American audiences don’t always embrace animation when it’s not a bunch of cute animals singing and dancing — so I was a little hesitant about it.”
“I thought maybe we should pursue a live action film,” continued Powell. “But then I saw the work of ‘Blur’ and spoke with [producer David] Fincher and learned about the way they want to do it the way they want to treat it, and I was sold.”
Still, when you look at the overall numbers for top-grossing comic book adaptations, see 2007’s “TMNT” standing as the top dog among CGI films, and note that its $54.1M just barely cracked the Top 50 superhero flicks, it’s hard to justify animation. Heck, all you’d have to do for “The Goon” is put Mickey Rourke back in his Marv makeup from “Sin City,” add some depression-era clothes and — voila — you’ve got your Goon.
However, Powell believes that moviegoers are ready for a film like this for a few reasons.
“I have the feeling the Adult Swim crowd is there, and that wasn’t there before,” said Powell. “And films like ‘Beowulf’ have come out that aren’t family-style animated films. I think the doors are opening. American audiences are starting to embrace different types of material animated.”